His bowtie is really a camera
S & G or Simon & Garfunkel sang ‘We all come to look for America!’ One of the verses is about a man in a gabardine shirt that looks like a spy, and then the one line says in a comical way, ‘be careful his bowtie is really a camera!’
Clever dialogue and descriptions in their songs used to catch my attention. For instance the two old people who sit on park benches like Bookends (propping each other up). The Sounds of Silence and silence does have sound if you care to listen. The opening line is probably a description of the billions of city dwellers everywhere, not just in NY: ‘Hello silence my old friend, I’ve come to talk to you again’. And then the unforgettable ‘words of the prophets are written on the subway walls’.
Mrs Robinson, Jesus loves you more than you would know wow-wow-wow! And that is where I want to camp for today. Mike Nichols used the S & G songs in the sound track for his film, The Graduate, starring a youthful Dustin Hoffman and an ageing Anne Bancroft, who played Mrs. Robinson.
But I have another Mrs. Robinson in mind.
While I was a student at Miracle Valley Bible College in Arizona, it no longer exists anymore, Dr. Gray, our principal encouraged us to read, Radiant Glory, the biography about Mrs. Robinson, who dedicated her life to loving Jesus. Her house was the only one left standing in the great Chicago fire. They were praying inside and escaped the terror of the devastating fire.
She prayed over I Corinthians 13 for two years: until she felt that those verses were internalized in her life. Love is patient, love is kind. Just start with those two. Love is not always a feeling as we presume. We want to feel love because we want to feel loved. But let’s look at what we are patient with. What draws kindness from us? Those are the things we love.
People are sometimes more patient and kind to their dogs and cats than to one another. Why? The Bible says in the last days there will be perilous times, because people will be lovers of themselves more than lovers of God; they will love money more than God and they will love pleasure more than God.
These three things describe our modern, materialistic, selfish and utterly sinful society – these things also cause pain and wars among us.
The love of money for instance is the root of all kinds of evil – not money.
Unfortunately the first line in Napoleon Hill’s book, that everyone reads sooner or later, How to think and grow rich, is, if you want money you must love money. He tells you how to feel the money in your pocket and to always have money in your wallet, because if you love money it attracts money. It is diametrically opposed to the Gospel of the Kingdom where money is not a god but a means to serve the Kingdom of God.
God promises to be a God that will teach us how to create wealth so that we may establish His Covenant in the earth. There is a condition to wealth creation, God’s way. The blessing of the Lord makes rich and adds no sorrow to it.
Self-love is promoted on every scale in modern life and narcissism rules the youth of today. There is a right perspective to all of this. You should first love God and then you can love your neighbour as yourself. That is the law of love that fulfils all the other commandments. But unless you experience the love of God it is impossible to love others or yourself in the right way.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16 in the Bible).
I Corinthians 13 tells us about love. If we have great faith, or make great sacrifices or even become a martyr it is empty without love as the motivating force.
Mrs. Robinson realised this and began asking God to fill her with His love. The Holy Spirit pours out the love of God in our hearts if we ask God in faith to give us His kind of agape love. Agape love is unselfish and unconditional. Our human love tends to be conditional: if you do this I might love you.
Pleasures that the world offer draw us away from God, rather than to Him. The pleasures of this life that is sinful are like thorns that choke a growing plant. The desires for things other than the things of God take the place that God should have in our hearts and makes the Word of God fruitless in our lives.
Where a heart is thoroughly prepared to receive the seed of the Word of God it bears a great harvest – hundred fold!
Mrs. Robinson experienced this in her life. She became a vessel of honour, mightily used of God to bless her generation and to leave behind a Radiant Glory for those who knew her. People used to drive great distances just to speak to her for a few seconds. Their lives were sorted out in a few minutes and they got direction, courage and hope just by seeing her.
I hope S & G were referring to the Mrs. Robinson in Radiant Glory rather than the one in The Graduate! It makes more sense that way. Perhaps we can learn from her to love one another. Perhaps we can help to make the world a better place.
If we listen to S & G we could have a different perspective on Mrs. Robinson!